Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Should I use an image of Win 8 OEM on new SSD or retail?

  1. #1

    Should I use an image of Win 8 OEM on new SSD or retail?


    Hi, I just bought a new laptop with Win 8 preinstalled on the HDD. I want to replace the HDD with an SSD and according to Asus support, I was told the easiest way is to create an image of the preinstalled Win 8 OEM is with their Asus Backtracker software. However on my desktop PC I already am using a retail version of Win 8, so I have an ISO of the retail version. I was thinking it might be easier to just use that but according to Asus support, they recommend I use the OEM that came preinstalled rather than install the retail version...

    Any suggestions?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    If anything goes wrong.
    OEM Version pre-installed: you call ASUS
    Retail Version: You Call MS
    OEM Version you buy from the store: You Call yourself.

    As long as the Versions are the same, I would think you can install it with the retail version. The advantage is a fresh install while the pre-installed version from ASUS will contain a lot of unnecessary software (bloatware, anti virus, evaluation etc...) and can slow down your system.

    What I would do is take out the HD that currently have the pre-installed Windows, put in the SSD and install the Retail version, and if the activation is OK then I am done. Otherwise, connect the HD to a USB port then use the free version of Macrium to clone it.

    Macrium Reflect Free

    EDIT: Actually you don't need to download or install Macrium, Just download the Macrium Rescue disk from one of our member, put it in the USB stick, boot up then clone the HD: Macrium WinPE .iso - OneDrive
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by topgundcp View Post
    If anything goes wrong.
    OEM Version pre-installed: you call ASUS
    Retail Version: You Call MS
    OEM Version you buy from the store: You Call yourself.

    As long as the Versions are the same, I would think you can install it with the retail version. The advantage is a fresh install while the pre-installed version from ASUS will contain a lot of unnecessary software (bloatware, anti virus, evaluation etc...) and can slow down your system.

    What I would do is take out the HD that currently have the pre-installed Windows, put in the SSD and install the Retail version, and if the activation is OK then I am done. Otherwise, connect the HD to a USB port then use the free version of Macrium to clone it.

    Macrium Reflect Free

    EDIT: Actually you don't need to download or install Macrium, Just download the Macrium Rescue disk from one of our member, put it in the USB stick, boot up then clone the HD: Macrium WinPE .iso - OneDrive
    Thx for you suggestion! Just wondering though...while your method for installing Windows sounds easier, isn't it also easier to remove the unwanted software "imposed" by Asus instead of having to do a fresh retail install and then find/install all the asus drivers manually?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 216
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    It depends on how comfortable your are with installing all the system-specific drivers. See if your system has a location for all the drivers and make sure you have them saved. And/or download the latest ones from their support site. Do the retail install and then the drivers. There can be small difference between models and the drivers (e.g. Lenovo switched audio manufacturers in the same model of laptop).

    It will definitely be easier to use the OEM version and uninstall bloatware, but you may end up with snippets of stuff still installed. After uninstalling the bloatware, check out your processes to see if there is anything out of the ordinary.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 25
    Windows 7


    I would take the time to gather drivers and do a clean install rather than fight all the bloatware that usually comes with OEM preinstalled. Asus SHOULD have a place where you can download most or all of the needed drivers for your machine.
    I've collected drivers for my systems and keep them on hand on an external drive.
    Jim
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    My TechNet 8.0 ISO read and used the OEM embedded key in my laptops BIOS. My key was for 8.0 Core and that's what got installed. I wasn't prompted to enter a product code and it activated automatically online. It's my understanding that my TechNet ISO's are identical to the retail DVD's. Keep in mind that for this to work you have to use a Windows 8.0 DVD if your laptop came with Windows 8.0 and an 8.1 DVD if it came with Windows 8.1. I did a clean install to an SSD that I swapped in to replace the factory drive. I'd boot from the retail DVD and see what happens. You can always image if it doesn't work. If your Retail DVD is Windows 8.1 and your laptop came with 8.0 you can do this. Activate retail Windows 8.1 with Windows 8 Product key.

    EDIT: If you can skip installing 8.0 and go right to 8.1 with update 1, I'd do it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Hey guys... reporting back on my progress!

    I decided to go the clean install way with a retail version of Windows 8.1

    Prior to doing so, I used the Asus BackTracker to create a folder on a USB key of all their related drivers and apps that came with the laptop.

    I'm now in Windows 8.1 and about to install those drivers but when I run the Asus Installation Wizard, I'm getting the following message: "The drivers on this disk are not compatible with your hardware."

    Dam, maybe its cause the laptop came with Windows 8, not Windows 8.1?

    So i thought maybe if I change the properties of this wizard to run it in Windows 8 Compatibility Mode... and it worked!

    Now Im just wondering if I still should proceed with installing these drivers... i dont want to wreck my laptop... i mean if they are not Win 8.1 compatible, will they still install?

    (Official Asus tech support answer: Regrettably we do not support upgrades or downgrades, I am unable to say if the drivers would work, I can only recommend that you use the windows operating system that came on your unit.)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    I would go to ASUS's website, search for your device and download and install the Windows 8 drivers that you need. They will be fine with Windows 8.1
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts : 6,490
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit


    Quote Originally Posted by azasadny View Post
    I would go to ASUS's website, search for your device and download and install the Windows 8 drivers that you need. They will be fine with Windows 8.1
    Except look for 8.1 drivers first. ASUS lists some 8.1 drivers for my laptop and some 8.0 drivers for my laptop. The only ones I really needed though were the ATK utility and the Smart Gesture utility. My touchpad worked but I had no two finger scroll. I went to AMD for the video drivers, the ASUS ones were giving me errors on 8.1 with update 1. I went with the 14.4 drivers.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    San Jose - California
    Posts : 2,847
    8.1x64PWMC Ubuntu14.04x64 MintMate17x64


    Thx for you suggestion! Just wondering though...while your method for installing Windows sounds easier, isn't it also easier to remove the unwanted software "imposed" by Asus instead of having to do a fresh retail install and then find/install all the asus drivers manually?
    One important thing when dealing with laptop.People tend to jump in and install Windows without finding out what their system specs is. It is true with the same Model, you can have different hardware such as Audio, Blue tooth, Wifi...
    To avoid any complication:
    1. Go to to their support site, find out what your system specs is by entering your laptop serial number.
    2. Check if the BIOS in your system is up to date. If not update it first.
    3. Next, download all the drivers according to your system specs.
    4. Install Windows and activate it.
    5. Go to Program and features, check on the Net Framework 3.5 and install it to avoid any complication updating it which most people have in the forum.
    6. Very first driver to install is the Chipset drivers so that all the built in devices on the mother board will function properly.
    7. Run Windows Updates. Windows will find most missing drivers and list them as optional in plain English such as: Network Controller XXX, Audio Driver for XXX, Video Driver XXX etc... where XXX is the make and Model
    8. Open device manager and inspect if there any drivers are missing indicated by yellow exclamation marks. If you already have the drivers downloaded from step 3. then don't install the optional updates in step 6 but install the drivers you downloaded (more up to date) The exclamation mark associated with that device should disappear.
    9. Configure, optimize your Windows.
    10. Run sfc /scannow and make a backup image before installing any third party software.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Should I use an image of Win 8 OEM on new SSD or retail?
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